A new beginning…

Finding my feet in living for Jesus.

Archive for November, 2010

Are you ready?

Posted by lauraoli on November 29, 2010

So in the last couple of weeks I’ve heard 3 sermons at two different churches, and each one has been on Jesus’ second coming. As a Christian, I believe that Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment for the world’s sin, he rose again 3 days later and he will come again to judge the world. We don’t know when he will return, but we can be sure that it will happen. When it does happen, those that know and love Jesus will rise with him to Heaven to spend eternity with him.

It definitely hasn’t already happened – the bible is very clear that when it happens there we won’t miss it and there will be no doubt, (1 Thessalonians 4:16 ‘For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God’) and in fact warns against those who try to deceive us. (Matthew 24:4-6 ‘Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah’ and will deceive many’).

In yesterday’s service, we had our Advent celebration. Advent is the time of the year when we look forward to Christmas and to Jesus’ birth, but we should be looking forward to Jesus’ return every day. What if Jesus comes back before tonight – are you ready? Are you a ‘son of the day’ or a ‘son of the night’?

Yesterday’s evening sermon was based on 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11. These are the major points.

  1. No warning: We don’t know when Jesus is going to turn up. There will be no adverts, no build up, no warning. The bible compares it to ‘a thief in the night’.
  2. No escape: It will be like the start of labour pains in a pregnant woman, from which there is no relief. No-one on Earth will be able to avoid judgment.

These two things are the same for everyone, whether you belong to Christ’s body or not. The last 3 points are for those of us who believe in Christ and are known by him; ‘sons of the day’:

  1. No surprises: We should be expecting Jesus’ return, and we should be ready.
  2. No sleepiness: Non-Christians are ‘asleep’ to the fact Jesus will return. We shouldn’t fall away from him, and we should be ‘awake’ to his return at all times.
  3. No condemnation: It’s the BEST DAY when Jesus will return – it’s when we will receive the free gift of salvation and go to spend eternity together with him.

So I end this post with a challenge – are you in, or are you out? There is no third option; no ‘I might believe later’, or ‘I’ll look into it when I’m older’, or ‘I’m not sure there is a God’. There is no middle ground. You need to make a decision; you need to choose to be a ‘son of the day’ or a ‘son of the night’. You can’t abstain from this choice. If you don’t choose to be in, then you choose to be out.

If you’re in, then are you ready?

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How many languages?!

Posted by lauraoli on November 10, 2010

Going to Madagascar was terrifying for many reasons. The main one was the language barrier. I speak English, and not really anything else. As those of you who read my blog know, I went to Montpellier earlier this year to brush up on my French – the language of the more educated and of the missionaries out in Mandritsara. Once I arrived, I realised just how limited my French actually was, and how much Malagasy was spoken in and around the hospital.

As the weeks went on, my French improved quite dramatically – I managed to spend time with English speaking doctors in the hospital, but there was another girl there from Switzerland who didn’t speak English, so we had to talk to each other in French. This was great, she was very patient with me and I carried around a dictionary on my ipod, so we were able to communicate pretty well!

Also, once a week there were bible studies for the missionaries – again in French. We were working through 1 Samuel, and for the first couple of weeks I had absolutely no idea what was going on. By the end of my visit however, it was really noticeable how much more I could understand.

But the really big thing that struck me out there with all the different languages was that all these people had a relationship with the same God. He transcends all languages and all cultures, and this was something I’d never had an opportunity to realise firsthand before. During the bible studies, if we were asked to read a section of the passage, everyone did so in the language of their bible – English, Dutch, German, Malagasy and French were all used. Prayers were said in any of these languages too, so even though I didn’t understand some of what was going on, they were still talking to the same God that I talk to when I pray in English. That’s pretty cool!

On one Saturday, we were having a ‘jolly Samedi’ (food, worship, chat, games etc) and 2 ½ year old Keziah announced she wanted to sing ‘My God is so big, so strong and so mighty…’ So we did. In English, French and Malagasy!

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty there’s nothing that he cannot do! (x2) The rivers are his, the mountains are his, the stars are his handiwork too, My God is so big, so strong and so mighty there’s nothing that he cannot do!

Mon Dieu est si grand, si fort et si puissant, rien n’est impossible à mon Dieu! (x2) Les monts sont à lui, les lacs sont à lui, les cieux sont sa création. Mon Dieu est si grand, si fort et si puissant, rien n’est impossible à mon Dieu!

Andriamanitro, lehibe sy mahery, tsy misy tsy hainy atao! (x2) Ny ranomasina, ny tanety koa, ny lanitra azy avoko, Andriamanitro, lehibe sy mahery, tsy misy tsy hainy atao!

And just to finish – here’s a video I took at the children’s holiday bible club of the kids singing this song.

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